Two-time Olympic decathlon champion Eaton and wife retire
Two Olympic decathlon gold medals. Rewriting the world record not once but twice. Ashton Eaton really can't envision accomplishing much more in an event that comes with the label of world's greatest athlete.
So, he's stepping away less than three weeks shy of his 29th birthday.
Eaton and heptathlete Brianne Theisen-Eaton announced their retirements yesterday in side-by-side essays on their website.
Considered the first family of multi-events, Ashton and Brianne met at the University of Oregon as teenagers and married in July 2013. Their coach Harry Marra officiated the wedding.
Ashton hinted he might be moving on to other things soon after defending his title at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August. He leaves with his world record standing at 9,045 points, which he achieved at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing. It was six points better than his previous record set during dreary weather in front of a hometown crowd in Eugene, Oregon, at the 2012 US Olympic trials.
"Frankly, there isn't much more I want to do in (the) sport," Ashton wrote. "I gave the most physically robust years of my life to the discovery and pursuit of my limits in this domain. Did I reach them? Truthfully, I'm not sure anyone really does.
"It seems like we tend to run out of time or will before we run out of potential. That makes humanity limitless then, as far as I'm concerned. And I think that's inspiring."
Eaton's departure comes before the expected retirement of another big name from the world of track and field. Nine-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt of Jamaica indicated that 2017 would be his final season of sprinting.
"I don't know if we'll ever have another Usain Bolt or another Ashton Eaton," Hardee said in a phone interview. "But there are kids coming up ... and it's going to be great to watch who fill those gaps."
Through the years, Ashton's constant training partner has been Brianne. They're highly supportive of each other, with Ashton sitting in the Rio stands while wearing a Canadian cap to root for his wife.
The 28-year-old Brianne, who represents Canada, won the bronze medal in Rio. She wrote in her essay how she usually gets nervous before her final event.